Did you know?*

The addition of a validated developmental screening tool to healthcare visits, including well-child visits, increases referral and identification rates for children with developmental delays and supports early intervention services.1

Early intervention improves long-term developmental outcomes including the amelioration of further delays and improved academic performance.2


CALIFORNIA RANKS 30th in the country for its rate of developmental screenings for infants & toddlers3

ONLY 22.2% (less than one fourth) of children in California receive timely developmental screenings.4

Even Though…

One in four (28%) of children under the age of 6 in California are at moderate- or high-risk for developmental, behavioral, or social delays.5
1 in 68 children are at risk for an autism spectrum disorder.6
2 in 5 parents with children age 5 and younger report having concerns about their child’s physical, behavioral, or social development.7


Regular and routine developmental and behavioral screening and referral provides the greatest chance that children will be identified and connected to early intervention services. Primary care is the ideal setting for developmental and behavioral screening as families look to healthcare providers to provide comprehensive care for their young children. Developmental screening is an integral component of healthcare and is necessary for the early identification of children with developmental delays and disorders. This online toolkit was developed to provide healthcare providers with best practices in the screening and referral process. This simple guide was developed in partnership with Help Me Grow California and is grounded in the latest evidence-based research.

Early identification consists of THREE components:*


Surveillance is the process of recognizing children who may be at risk for developmental delays or behavioral concerns and should occur at every healthcare visit.


Screening is the use of a standardized tool to identify children at risk for a developmental delay or behavioral concern.


Evaluation is the in-depth assessment process, following screening, to determine eligibility for services.  If a screening tool indicates potential problems, a referral should be made to a qualified professional for formal assessment.



*Content and format adapted from Help Me Grow Ventura County/First 5 Ventura County.


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